Saturday 5 December 2015, 6pm
at the Toorak Uniting Church, Toorak
Melbourne Chamber Choir, Orchestra (leader: Aaron Barnden) and outstanding soloists Robert Macfarlane (tenor, visiting from Leipzig), Lisa-Anne Robinson (soprano), Selena Pettifer (alto) and Antony Ransome (bass). Conducted by Dr. David Kram
About the Christmas Oratorio
J.S. Bach ‘Weihnachtsoratorium’ (Christmas Oratorio) BWV 248 was given its first complete performance at Christmastime 1734/35 at St. Nicholas in Leipzig. The next performance was not until 17 December 1857 in Ber-lin. Today it is one of the essentials on the Christmas concert calendar in Germany. Some of the melodies were no doubt familiar to churchgoers, seeing that Bach drew upon his earlier works for musical material to fill his six Christmas Oratorio cantatas. The practice was frequent during his time, however, and was not looked down upon. The six separate, large-scale but related parts of the Oratorio tell the Nativity story through texts of the apostles Matthew and Luke, as well as through traditional or newly written texts. Bach is credited with shaping the text and selecting the Biblical passages in such a way that the work unfolds logically. This gives the piece a musically dramatic and compel-ling textual unity that ensures its timeless appeal. Today’s performance by the Melbourne Chamber Choir has been adapted by its Music Director Dr. David Kram focusing on the essential Christmas story. Children of the German Lutheran Trinity Church will be reading the well-known biblical texts. And the audience is invited to join in singing three chorales.